If your hair part is spreading, you have bald areas, or you’re shedding more than 125 hairs each day, you may be having hair loss and should consult a dermatologist. There are various forms of hair loss and several reasons. Although there is nothing you can do to avoid hair loss, you may react to therapy if you see a dermatologist as soon as possible!
What causes female hair loss?
Hair loss in women is simply when a woman has sudden, excessive hair loss. Humans lose between 50 and 100 single hairs every day on average. Hair shedding is a normal process in which some hairs fall out while others grow in. Hair loss occurs when the equilibrium is disrupted – when hair falls out and less hair grows in. Hair loss is not the same as hair shedding. Alopecia is the medical word for hair loss.
Hair develops on practically every surface of your skin, save the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, lips, and eyelids. Vellus hair is defined as light, fine, and short hair. Hair that is terminal/androgenic is thicker, darker, and longer.
What are the hair growth cycles?
Hair goes through three distinct cycles:
- The anagen phase (growing phase) can extend anywhere from two to eight years. This stage normally corresponds to around 85% to 90% of your hair on your head.
- The catagen phase (transition phase) lasts roughly two to three weeks and is characterized by shrinking hair follicles.
- The telogen phase (resting phase) lasts around two to four months. The hair falls out towards the end of this period.
- Your shorter hairs, such as eyelashes, arm and leg hair, and brows, have a one-month anagen phase. Your scalp hair can survive for up to six years or more.
- What are the different forms of hair loss?
Anagen effluvium, telogen effluvium, and FPHL are the three types of hair loss.
- Anagen effluvium is caused by drugs that poison a hair follicle that is developing (like chemotherapy).
- Telogen effluvium is caused by an increase in the number of hair follicles entering the telogen phase, which is when hair falls out.
- The most prevalent kind is androgenetic alopecia/female pattern alopecia/female pattern hair loss (FPHL)/baldness. Hair thins on top and on the sides of the head.
- How prevalent is female hair loss?
Many individuals believe that hair loss affects exclusively men. However, more than half of women are expected to have considerable hair loss. Female-pattern hair loss (FPHL) is the most common cause of hair loss in women, affecting over one-third of all susceptible women, or approximately 30 million women in the United States.
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Which women are most prone to hair loss?
Hair loss may affect every girl or woman. It is, however, more prevalent in:
- Women above the age of 40.
- Women who have just given birth.
- Women who have received chemotherapy, as well as those who have been adversely impacted by other drugs
- Women who frequently wear their hair in tight ponytails or tight braids or use harsh chemicals on their hair.
- Women in menopause.
What are the common misconceptions concerning hair loss?
There are several myths surrounding hair loss. The following statements are false:
- You’re losing hair because you shampoo it too frequently, or because you’ve dyed or permed it.
- In women, dandruff causes irreversible hair loss.
- In women, stress causes lifelong hair loss.
- Shaving your head causes your hair to come back twice as thick.
- Standing on your head stimulates hair growth by increasing circulation.
- Brushing your hair 100 strokes each day will make it healthier.
- Women’s hair loss is caused by hats and wigs.
- Only educated women suffer from hair loss.
What are the most prevalent reasons of female hair loss?
- Hair style: Hair loss can occur when your hair is organized in ways that tug on your roots, such as tight ponytails, braids, or corn rows. Traction alopecia is the medical term for this type of hair loss. Hair follicle injury might result in permanent hair loss.
- Deficiency in vitamins.
- Dieting (rapid weight loss).
- Diets that are restrictive.
- Scalp hair that has been overprocessed (breakage).
What is the cause of anagen effluvium hair loss?
Chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and certain pharmaceuticals are examples of toxic chemicals. These might cause unexpected hair loss anywhere on your body. It occurs during the growing stage of hair. If your hair follicles are injured, this sort of hair loss might be permanent.
What is the cause of telogen effluvium hair loss?
- Excessive physical stress or shock to your body causes temporary hair loss. This category includes occurrences such as losing a significant amount of weight, surgery, anemia, sickness, and having a child.
- Extreme emotional stress, such as mental illness or the death of a loved one.
- A thyroid disorder.
- Blood pressure medications, gout medications, and large dosages of Vitamin A are examples of medications and supplements.
- Changes in hormones produced by pregnancy, menopause, or birth control drugs.
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What causes female pattern hair loss (FPHL)?
- Genes: Hair thinning around the top of your head might be caused by your family’s genes.
- Aging: Hormone changes as you become older might cause baldness.
- Menopause: When estrogen levels drop during menopause, this kind of hair loss frequently worsens.
Hair loss can also be caused by the following conditions:
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune skin condition that causes patchy hair loss on the scalp and perhaps elsewhere on the body. It is seldom lasting.
What is the connection between female hair loss and menopause?
You may notice one of two things with your hair during menopause. You may begin to develop hair where you previously did not. Alternatively, you may notice that your hair begins to thin. Changes in hormone levels during menopause might be one factor. When estrogen and progesterone levels decline, the effects of androgens, or male hormones, rise.
Hair may become finer (thinner) during and after menopause when hair follicles diminish. In some circumstances, hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily.
To assist you in dealing with variations in hair development, your healthcare professional will do a complete examination and obtain a detailed history. You may be advised to get your iron or thyroid hormone levels checked. If your drugs are determined to be affecting hair loss or growth, they may be altered.
What are the symptoms of female hair loss?
- Observing more hair fall out on your brush, the floor, in showers, on your pillows, or in the sink on a regular basis.
- Observing visible patches of thinner or missing hair, especially a bigger area on top of your head.
- Seeing the scalp skin through the hair
- Possessing smaller ponytails.
- Seeing hair fall out.
How would a medical professional identify female hair loss? What tests are performed?
The tests used to identify female hair loss might be simple or complex:
- Gently pull your hair out to watch how many hairs fall out.
- Blood tests are performed. These examine vitamin and mineral levels (such as vitamin D, vitamin B, zinc, and iron) as well as hormone levels (including thyroid and sex hormones).
- Microscopical inspection of the scalp and trichoscopy
- Scalp biopsy involves the removal and examination of a very tiny sample of scalp skin.
What questions may your doctor ask to diagnose and classify your hair loss?
Your doctor may inquire about your habits, such as:
- What hair care products do you use?
- What types of hairstyles do you prefer?
- What foods do you eat (protein is essential for hair growth)?
- Do you frequently rip your hair out?
They may inquire about your background:
- Is there anybody in your immediate family who has had hair loss?
- Is there anything causing you stress in your life?
- What drugs and supplements do you take on a daily basis?
- Have you ever experienced hair loss?
- What meals do you consume?
They may also inquire about your observations:
- How long have you been experiencing hair loss?
- Have you dropped any more weight?
- Have you seen hair loss somewhere other than your scalp, such as your brows? Hair on the legs and arms?
- Is there anything that makes your hair loss worse?
- Is there anything you can do to help your hair loss?
- Have you seen hair loss on occasion or has it been ongoing?
- Have you seen any changes in your hair growth?
- Is your hair breaking more frequently?
- Treatment And Management
What type of medical professional handles hair loss?
A dermatologist may be able to help you.
How is female hair loss treated? What medications or supplements could be beneficial?
- The treatment you receive is determined by the cause of your hair loss.
- When the loss is caused by stress or hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, there may be no need for therapy. After a while, the hair loss will halt.
- Treatment for hair loss caused by hair style methods such as tight braids, ponytails, or certain chemicals entails refraining from performing the activities that caused the harm.
- You may be advised to take supplements if you have dietary deficits. For example, you may be advised to take a multivitamin and three to five milligrams of biotin on a regular basis.
- Minoxidil (Rogaine®) is an FDA-approved treatment for FPHL. The 2% or 5% solution is available in shops. However, you must strictly adhere to the instructions and utilize the product indefinitely. If you are pregnant, want to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, do not use this product.
- The HairMax Lasercomb® low light laser is FDA-approved for the treatment of FPHL. Theradome LH80 PRO® helmet and low light laser helmets and caps are also FDA-approved laser products.
Other treatments for female hair loss that have been examined but not approved include:
- Spironolactone as well as other anti-androgens
- Finasteride and other enzyme inhibitors of alpha-reductase.
- Analogs of prostaglandins
- Other light therapies
It is vital to highlight that premenopausal women should not use hair loss drugs without utilizing contraception. Many medicines, including minoxidil and finasteride, are not safe for pregnant or planning to become pregnant women.
Another alternative is hair transplant surgery. Small pieces of scalp with hair follicles are removed from the back of the head and placed in baldness slits.
The normal dangers of surgery, such as infection, folliculitis, and shock loss — when hair comes out in the transplant location — are potential difficulties with this treatment. In circumstances when the bald regions are big, it may be difficult to find enough hair to transplant. Furthermore, the operation can be expensive and is typically not covered by insurance.
Protein-rich plasma (PRP) injections have also been used to promote hair growth. PRP is often created from a patient’s blood. Platelets are extracted and concentrated before being reintroduced into the bloodstream for injection. Scalp microneedling with and without minoxidil treatment.
Are there any risks or negative effects to the treatment?
Minoxidil may irritate your scalp, causing itching, scaling, and/or redness. If this occurs, consult your dermatologist. With Minoxidil, you may see hair sprouting in locations other than your scalp (cheeks and forehead, for example). After using Minoxidil, wash your face and prevent applying it to other places.
How can women’s hair loss be avoided?
It is impossible to prevent hair loss caused by illness, age, hereditary, or physical stresses such as trauma. By avoiding caustic chemicals and tight hairstyles, you can prevent hair loss. You might be able to avoid some hair loss by eating a nutritious diet that is high in vitamins, minerals, and protein. You are able to quit smoking.
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What is the prognosis/outlook for ladies who are experiencing hair loss?
The prognosis is determined by your diagnosis:
- Anagen and telogen shedding may eventually cease.
- Treat any illnesses that are causing hair loss.
- Use a wig or hat to conceal or hide your hair loss.
- Early alopecia therapy may slow the rate of thinning and increase regeneration.
While hair loss is not inherently harmful, women who experience hair loss are frequently distressed by the changes in their appearance. These unpleasant emotions might have an impact on one’s self-esteem and social life. Recent research suggests that FPHL is linked to illnesses such as metabolic syndrome, endocrine problems, and diabetes.
What are some strategies for dealing with female hair loss?
- You can accomplish certain tasks on your own. You might consult with your stylist or attempt some of the following:
- Coloring your hair gives it more volume, making it appear fuller.
- Massaging your scalp, such as while shampooing your hair, can increase blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles.
- Having your hair cut shorter and layers added might make your hair appear thicker.
- Using the proper shampoo might also help. Look for a shampoo that creates volume without the use of sulfate-containing substance.
- Using the proper product at the right moment can also be beneficial. There are volumizing products that you may use while your hair is still damp. However, utilizing too much product might result in weight gain.
When should I make an appointment with my doctor?
When you detect hair loss, consult a dermatologist as soon as possible. The earlier you receive therapy, the more successful it will be.
- What questions should I ask my physician?
- What is causing my hair loss?
- How many hair strands do I lose every day?
- What form of hair loss am I experiencing?
- Will my hair loss last forever?
- What is the best course of action for me?
- A message from the Cleveland Clinic
Hair loss may be upsetting whether it is caused by genetics, an illness, or even stress. Know that there are certain treatments available to you, and that skilled dermatologists are there to assist you. Your hair loss could be reversible. Consult your doctor as soon as you think something is amiss, because the sooner you begin treatment, the better.
Expert Q&A: Combating Female Hair Loss
Many women who are experiencing hair loss suffer in quiet, changing their hairdo to conceal thinning or spots. However, the sooner you seek treatment, the higher your chances of success, according to Mary Gail Mercurio, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.
It’s not as rare as you would think: 5% of women under 30 and 60% of those over 70 are impacted, according to her. Mercurio spoke on prevalent types of hair loss in women and treatment choices at the recent American Academy of Dermatology meeting in Miami Beach, Fla.
What is the most prevalent cause of female alopecia?
Female-pattern hair loss has a substantial hereditary component that can be inherited from either the mother or the father. This form of hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, can begin as early as the late teens, and the sooner it begins, the more severe the hair loss tends to be.
Most women who have pattern hair loss do not develop a receding hairline or bald area on top of the head, as males do. Instead, there is apparent crown thinning.
Hairs are shrunk in both men and women due to a reduced growth cycle in which the hair stays on the head for a shorter amount of time. These wispy hairs, which resemble forearm hairs, never grow to their normal length. The first indicator of hair loss that most women notice is a widening of their part or a smaller ponytail.
What is the treatment for female hair loss?
Minoxidil (Rogaine) 5% is the only FDA-approved topical treatment for female-pattern hair loss. In 81% of women who undergo the once-daily foam therapy, hair regrows.
Over-the-counter liquid solutions at 2% and 5% concentrations are available. Minoxidil works by extending the development phase of hair, giving it more time to grow out to its maximum density.
You must be patient since obvious benefits often take three to four months and the medicine must be used once daily. It works best when begun early.
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Doctors may also check ferritin levels (a protein that indicates the amount of total body iron stores). According to new study, levels may be low in women experiencing hair loss. Iron supplementation may be beneficial.
The HairMax Laser Comb is also new. It’s a hairbrush-like red light treatment gadget that boosts circulation and the biological march that produces hair. It’s only approved for men (though some women use it) and, in my opinion, isn’t as effective as minoxidil. In one research, however, 45% of users reported improvement after eight weeks, and 90% reported improvement after sixteen weeks.
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In certain situations, a hormonal imbalance, such as an overabundance of male hormones known as androgens, may be to blame for female hair loss. If the hair loss pattern mimics that of a guy, this is a sign that hormones are at work. Prescription drugs like as spironolactone or oral contraceptives can be used to address this condition.
Finasteride (formerly branded as Proscar) is authorized for androgen-related hair loss in males. In one trial, 62% of women who also used oral contraceptives containing the synthetic progestin drospirenone felt better.
As a result, it may be useful for female hair loss when testosterone levels are high. However, research is limited, and it is detrimental to the male fetus, therefore it should not be taken by women who are planning to get pregnant or who are already pregnant.
Hair transplantation is another therapy technique, in which microscopic hair follicles from one part of the scalp are transplanted into the damaged areas. It has the potential to be incredibly successful and can deliver long-lasting, natural-looking effects.
Should I alter my hair-care routine?
No. Women should continue to style their hair as usual because there is no structural concern with female-pattern hair loss. Women may believe that stopping washing, dyeing, or perming their hair may affect the course of hair loss or speed up the process. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo with ketoconazole (an antifungal) or zinc pyrthione (an antifungal and antibacterial).
Is hair loss an indication of anything more serious?
Yes. Hyperandrogenism, a medical disorder characterized by an overabundance of male hormones known as androgens, can cause hair loss in women.
Functional ovarian hyperandrogenism, commonly known as polycystic ovary syndrome, is the most prevalent cause of hyperandrogenism in women. Other symptoms include obesity, acne, and irregular menstruation, and it is one of the most prevalent reasons of infertility.
Many of these women have metabolic syndrome, a group of five medical problems that include belly obesity and high blood pressure and raise the risk of diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
Although hair loss caused by hyperandrogenism can be addressed with minoxidil, you should seek treatment for the underlying disorders.